June 27, 2018 / 9:33 AM / a month ago

UK's top court grants heterosexual couple right to civil partnership

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of allowing a heterosexual couple the right to enter into a civil partnership, previously a union only eligible to those of the same sex.

The unanimous ruling by Britain’s top judges followed an appeal brought by a British couple who said that the law discriminated against heterosexuals like them who wanted a civil partnership rather than to be married.

The couple, Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, have fought for years to have a civil partnership because they object to marriage due to what they call its patriarchal nature.

Civil partnerships were introduced in Britain in 2004, giving gay couples similar legal rights to those enjoyed by married heterosexuals.

Since 2014, same-sex marriage has also been legal in England, Wales and Scotland, meaning gay couples could choose to get married or enter into a civil partnership, but marriage has to date been the only option available to heterosexual couples.

The ruling does not mean the government is obliged to change the law but it makes it more likely that that will happen, and campaigners will use the decision to push for that.

Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament on Wednesday she would consider the ruling with “great care,” without elaborating.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison

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